Upside Foods, the cell-protein business formerly known as Memphis Meats, has bought Cultured Decadence, a US peer focused on cultivated seafood.

Financial terms were not disclosed. In a statement, Upside Foods said the acquisition would expand its product portfolio and “accelerate commercialisation” of its seafood products.

Cultured Decadence, set up two years ago in Wisconsin, has developed cell lines and cell feed for seafood including lobster “and other crustaceans”, Upside Foods added.

“Seafood has a rich and delicious culinary tradition that makes it a favourite across the globe. Cultivated seafood also has a tremendous potential to benefit the world,” Dr. Uma Valeti, Upside Foods’ founder and CEO, said. “Cultured Decadence’s technology is incredibly promising, and their team is filled with passionate, smart individuals who want to make our favourite food a force for good.”

California-based Upside Foods was set up in 2015, focusing at first on cell-cultivated meat products. The earliest products the company developed were meatballs, chicken and duck. Upside Foods has yet to announce the development of “any specific seafood products” but has “made progress on certain marine species prior to the acquisition”, the business told Just Food. The first food it plans to bring to the market is cell-cultivated chicken.

In 2017, the firm attracted investment from agri-food giant Cargill and, a year later, secured financial backing from Tyson Foods, the US meat major and world’s largest poultry producer. Tyson backed Upside Foods – which changed its name from Memphis Meats last year – again in 2020.

Cultured Decadence received US$1.6m in pre-seed funding last year. Contributors to the pre-seed round included Chicago-based venture-capital fund Bluestein Ventures and peer Joyance Partners in San Francisco, along with Chinese investment firm Dao Foods.

John Pattison, the firm’s CEO who previously worked for US cell-based meat company New Age Meats, founded Cultured Decadence with chief scientific officer Ian Johnson having come up with the idea to create sustainable seafood products with a “dramatically lower” environmental footprint in 2019.

In a joint statement, Pattison and Johnson, who will both join Upside Foods, said: “Upside’s unparalleled R&D and scale up capabilities will significantly accelerate the commercialisation of cultivated delicious, sustainable and humane seafood.”

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